Sure, McGwire (and Bonds and Clemens and etc) used PED's. But so did a huge chunk of the guys they was competing against (just like Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, and Whitey Ford before them).Guys like Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Jeff Bagwell, and John Smoltz all have better shots this year than Bonds or Clemens because they're not considered "users." But we have no idea who used PEDs - it was far more rampant than we'll ever be able to quantify. So why pretend we have any idea?
We don't compare pitchers' ERAs in 2012 with those of the dead-ball era because stats fluctuate between eras. But dominance among peers remains the best indicator of Hall-of-Fame worthiness and during the "steroid era," when PEDs were largely legal. The playing fields were level.
In fact, that's what I wrote about last year when Glavine and Maddux were elected:
Held to today's standards, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Hank Aaron, and Whitey Ford may all have been kept out of the Hall. And if you don't think there is a long list of current and recently-retired stars who have breathed huge sighs of relief for not being outed as a "user," you're foolish.Simply put, the Hall of Fame should be for the guys who dominated their peers, regardless of era. By those metrics, Bonds and Clemens should be on every voter's ballot.
...Maddux and Glavine didn't exactly come across as anti-PED crusaders back in 1996. In fact, I doubt there was a single player in the league during the 1990s who didn't know PED's were running rampant. They all profited from the post-strike home run obsession.
On top of it all, Glavine was in a position to fix it. As the Braves' long-time players' union rep, he was one of the leading voices in the MLBPA - the organization that fought off drug testing for so long.